While Paul Krugman seemed to go against the rising tide of experts calling for the giant banks to be broken up, he clarified his position last week:
My view is that I’d love to see those financial giants broken up, if only for political reasons: it’s bad to have banks so big they can often write laws.
The giant banks have enough money to - literally - purchase the politicians.
And they can capture the regulators. As Dean Baker wrote on April 7th:
In the United States it will always be easy for regulators to look the other way, even when the ultimate consequences prove to be disastrous. By contrast, cracking down on politically connected banks is difficult for regulators. The banks' executives will call their friends in the administration and Congress to complain about the crazy regulator who is trying to keep them from running their business.
And, you can be sure that the banks will have a story. They pay smart people lots of money to develop those stories. The banks' mouthpieces will make a conscientious regulator look like a crazed vigilante who just doesn't understand modern finance. Just ask Brooksley Born, the head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission who was stopped in her effort to regulate credit default swaps back in 1998.
And as Miles Mogulescu writes:
[Simon] Johnson has the long-term politics right--unless we break up the 6-8 largest banks which dominate the financial system, we will both be strengthening a self-perpetuating oligarchy which dominates the political system to protect its own wealth and power to the detriment of the national interest and democratic governance, and which uses it's government guaranteed "too big to fail status" to take excessive risk which will lead to the next bubble, the next meltdown, and the next Hobson's choice by an even more debt-ridden government between bailing them out again with trillions in taxpayer dollars or allowing them to fail and sinking the economy into depression.
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